The planting medium is one of the important factors in farming activities. Planting media will determine how well the plant growth, which in turn affect the results of production. There are many types of planting media, moreover, with the development of various methods of farming, such as hydroponics and Aeroponics they are becoming very numerous and diverse. Each type of plant takes the nature and characteristics of different planting media. For example, fruit crops need different planting media characters from vegetable crops. Fruit plant requires a solid, growing medium in order to sustain the relatively larger plant growth, while vegetable plant requires the more loose planting medium and easily penetrated by the root.
This time we will be discussing the ingridients for organic planting soil used for cultivation of organic vegetables in a polybag or pots. The materials we used are materials that widely available in nature and can be done yourself. We will describe the method which suitable for organic cultivation because it does not use additional chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and other chemical compounds.
Criteria For Good Organic Planting Soil or Organic Planting Medium
The planting medium has the functionality to support the plant, providing nutrients and provide a venue for plant roots to grow and develop. Through this planting medium, the plant gets most of its nutrition. For cultivation in pots or polybag, planting media are created as a replacement for the land. Therefore, it should be able to replace the function of the land for the plant.
A good growing medium must have the properties of the physical, chemical and biological needs of the plants. In general, a good growing medium must have some properties as follows:
- It should be able to provide space for growing root crops, and also able to sustain the plant. That is, the media should be loose enough so that the plant roots can grow well and perfectly, but still solid enough to hold the roots and shore up the rod in order not to fall down. If the media is too loose, the root will grow much freely, however, the plants will be too easily disconnected. Otherwise, if it is too dense, the roots will be difficult to grow.
- Has good porosity, meaning that it could keep the water at the same time also have drainage (ability to drain water) and aeration (oxygen flow capabilities). The planting medium should be able to retain soil moisture but should be able to throw away the excess water. The porous planting media has an empty cavity between its material. The media can be penetrated by water, so the water is not inundated inside the polybag or the pot. But on the other hand the cavity spaces should be able to absorb the water (hygroscopic) to be kept as a reserve and to retain moisture.
- Provides enough macro as well as micronutrient elements. Nutrients are very important for plant growth. These nutrients can be provided from the fertilizer or the activity of the microorganisms contained within the planting media.
- Contain no germ or diseases, the planting medium should be clean from pests and diseases. Pests and diseases that are contained within a planting medium can attack crops and lead to the deaths of the plants. The planting medium should not be sterile because much of the land microorganisms are actually very beneficial for plants, but it should be hygienic from the seeds of disease.
Ingredients for Organic Planting Soil or Organic Planting Soil Media
There is a lot of variety of materials that can be used to make the planting media, ranging from natural to synthetic. But in this article we will only limit on some organic material which widely available in natural, cheap and easy to create.
Good soil for planting medium should be taken from the inner layer (top soil). In general, there are two types of soil that are to be aware of which are sandy and clay soils. The sandy soil has good drainage capability, quickly drain the water but the disadvantage is they are poor in storing water as a backup. While the ground clays are more difficult to be penetrated by water so that will make the water inundated with planting media. A good planting medium or planting soil should not too much, have sandy soil or not too much clay, but it should be loose enough.
Compost is an organic matter that serves as a provider of nutrient for the plant. The compost we used for planting medium is the dense compost. Almost all types of solid compost can be used as raw material for planting media.
The addition of organic materials such as compost or humus on planting media can improve the physical structure of the soil and improve cation exchange capacity. The compost that should be added is the compost that has matured. Immature compost could potentially bring in pests and disease. Besides that, the nutrient elements are still difficult to be absorbed by the plants because they are not fully decomposed yet.
Husk charcoal or coir
Husk charcoal was a result of burning rice husk. Husk charcoal is useful to increase the porosity of the soil. Adding husk charcoal on planting medium will improve the structure of the planting medium because the husk charcoal particles have an effect on the movement of water, air and maintain the moisture.
The benefits of husk charcoal is to neutralize the acidity of the soil, neutralize toxins, increase your bind power of the soil to the water, stimulates the growth of beneficial microbes to plants, making loose the soil which will improve drainage and aeration of the soil. Husk charcoal is better than rice husk, because husk charcoal was already through a burning process which will eliminate the seeds of disease or pest.
In addition, we may also use leftover coir (coco peat). Coir has some husk charcoal properties. Coir growing medium suitable in dry areas with low rainfall. Coir part is taken from an old coconut skin.
How to make organic planting medium
In this part we will show how to create poly bag or pot planting medium with the use of raw materials that have been explained above. To make a good planting medium we need soil element, water binder or water storage materials and provider of nutrient elements. Raw materials to be used in the following tutorial is the top soil, compost and husk charcoal.
The following are the steps to create the planting medium:
- Prepare the loose and fertile soil, it is better taken from the very top. Then sift the ground into fine grains. Make sure the soil in a dry state so it’s not lumpy. The lumpy soil will cause the ingredients not evenly mixed.
- Prepare the compost that has been matured. Sift the compost into the fine grain.
- Prepare husk charcoal.
- Mix soil, compost, and husk charcoal in a container. The composition of the mixture is 2 parts soil, 1 part compost, and 1 part husk charcoal (2:1:1). Mix until evenly distributed.
- Prepare a pot or polybag, fill the polybag, or the pot with the mixture. The planting medium is ready to use.
All of the three raw materials can also be mixed with the composition of the 1:1:1 or 2:1:1. Which one is best for you, of course, depending on the plant type and availability of resources. Regarding the results, some studies show different things. Do some trial and error.
This organic planting medium is very useful when we want to grow vegetables in poly bags or pots. Such methods are suitable in a limited or narrow land.